Sri Lankan conglomerate, Aitken Spence PLC has reported Rs 744 million as pre-tax profit and Rs 470 million after taxes and profit attributable to shareholders for the quarter ended 30th September 2009, the company said this week, adding that the profits were up 16% from previous, corresponding periods.
During the quarter under review, the Sri Lankan leisure sector, consisting of hotels and inbound tourism, showed signs of recovery. Aitken Spence Hotels, which operates the country’s largest resort portfolio showed improved earnings over the previous year. Aitken Spence Travels, the largest inbound tourism operator in the country saw tourist numbers increase during the period under review, resulting in higher earnings, the statement said.
In spite of earnings remaining negative, the Group’s performance in the Maldives was above expectations. Aitken Spence is the largest international resort operator in the Maldives, with a chain of seven resorts. The islands are yet to fully recover from a slump in tourist arrivals due to the aftermath of the global recession.
The aviation sector, consisting of the General Sales Agencies for Singapore Airlines and Kingfisher Airlines has reported losses during the period. The reduced demand for air travel as a consequence of the global financial crisis which compelled airlines to reduce the number of flights coupled with increased operating costs had an adverse impact on the sector turnover and profitability. “Singapore Airlines has shifted to night flights which we believe may facilitate improved returns in the future,” the company said.
The maritime sector revealed a better performance over last year despite a challenging operating environment. Its port management and container services operations in South Africa maintained strong earnings. The company also stated that negotiations are ongoing with the government and the Aitken Spence-China Merchant Holdings Consortium regarding the tender for the development of the South Container Terminal of the Colombo Port expansion project.
“We intend to expand and strengthen our presence in Sri Lanka, especially in the hospitality sector. The former Neptune Hotel will be transformed into a wellness resort based on Ayurveda under our Heritance brand umbrella. We are partnering with Six Senses to build an up-market luxury resort in Ahungalla. We also have plans to develop the prime beach property we own in Trincomalee”, said J M S Brito, Deputy Chairman/Managing Director of Aitken Spence PLC.